Leading student activist accused of ‘improper behaviour’

Chulalongkorn University has accused a leading student activist of improper behaviors after an incident during freshman induction.

On 10 August 2017, Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, a progressive student activist and President of the Chulalongkorn University’s student council, posted on his Facebook account a letter from Assoc. Prof. Bancha Chalapirom, Vice President for Student and Alumni Affairs, stating that he violated the university’s regulations on student's discipline.  

The letter states that Netiwit is accused of using the university’s property without proper authorisation and displaying improper behaviour during the annual university ceremony on 3 August where new students prostrate themselves before the monuments of King Rama V and Rama VI, the co-founders of the university.

During the ceremony, Netiwit and his friends walked out of the ceremony where freshmen pays respects to the two statues of past kings by prostrating.

The first accusation sprunk from his involvement in organising a public hearing at the Student Council office to hear complaints and requests from renters of Suan Luang Square from Chulalongkorn University.

In response to the first accusation, Netiwit wrote on his Facebook “Honestly, I'm still glad I got a chance to listen to people and their problems, even though I'm now in trouble because of what I did. There are still so many people in our country who need help. I believe that we, as Chula students, are quite privileged compared to the rest of society.”

The letter says the university’s Student and Alumni Affairs has formed the committee to investigate the matter and that he has until 25 August to submit an appeal to the committee.

On the same day, Chulalongkorn University’s website published the article stating that its Student and Alumni Affairs has the authorities to support and direct the behaviours of students to be in accordance to ‘good morality and ethics and ‘good Thai cultures’.    

Ruengwit Bunjongrat, a ceremony organiser of the freshman induction ceremony, escorting Supalak Damrongjit out off the ceremony on 3 August 2017 (Photo from Netiwit’s Facebook)